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Wellington man reflects on unusual friendship with Burt Reynolds

Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 18:51:12-04

As people mourn the passing of Jupiter resident Burt Reynolds, a man 61 years younger than Reynolds reflects on the unusual friendship the two shared. 

As Jonathan Lockhart Jr. holds onto a signed sports coat he remembers Reynolds as the man who gave him a chance at filmmaking. 

“I’m definitely going to keep this forever,” said Lockhart. 

Three years ago a nervous Jonathan Lockhart Jr. sporting a new suit and standing in front of the legendary filmmaker was just hoping to win him over enough so he could pursue cinematography after graduating high school. 

“When I went in there he was like, ‘hold on, hold on, do you really need this scholarship?’ And I said, ‘I definitely do’ and he said, ‘well you are dressed so sharply it doesn’t look like you do.’”

However, the jacket held a secret. 

“So I open the jacket pocket and there were the tags from the store where I was going to return the jacket after the interview,” said Lockhart. 

He said Reynolds laughed and from the moment forward, 

“He gave me hope that somebody from Florida, a small town in Florida, could actually make it,” said Lockhart. 

Reynolds not only went on to pay for Jonathan to attend Palm Beach State College but the two spent time together such as birthday parties. 

“I wish that I could just joke with him again and you know get advice about the ladies again you know that was just him,” said Lockhart. 

Now as he looks at still photos of the two, 

“It hurts, it hurts that somebody who I saw as a mentor and somebody who took my career to another level is no longer with us,” said Lockhart.  

But the jacket he now holds on tight to will forever serve as a reminder. 

“He joked a lot, he was a very kind man and he was very generous and really pushed for Palm Beach and Florida filmmaking,” said Lockhart. 

Jonathan plans to follow in Reynolds footsteps and hopes to attend Florida State University next fall. As for the jacket, he’s outgrown it but said he will never outgrow its memories and plans to keep it forever.  

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